Recent editorials from Kentucky newspapers:


Dec. 15

The Daily Independent on Time magazine naming President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris its “Person of the Year”:

Just how prestigious are Time Person of the Year honors? President-elect Joe Biden and VP-to-be Kamala Harris are the latest to receive the label, but how much is it even worth? And was that the right choice?

Time’s Person of the Year dates back to 1927, when Charles Lindbergh achieved the feat after having completed the first solo transatlantic flight that year as a 25-year-old. The choice accomplished two things: It launched a run that is nearing the century mark; and it made up for not featuring Lindbergh on the cover following his flight in Time’s May 1927 issue.

The first woman to earn the status was Wallis Simpson in 1936. She married former British king Edward VIII. Because she was a divorcee, it led to Edward’s abdication.

Time is no stranger to making controversial choices — in hindsight, it may regret naming Adolf Hitler (1938) and Joseph Stalin (1939, 1942) honorees.

While some right-wing radicals may lump Biden and Harris into a similar category, that’s not at all the reason we disagree with this year’s choice. However, we do disagree — and our reasons aren’t politically motivated at all.

Perhaps Biden and Harris would’ve been a more suitable choice in 2021. Time — no pun intended — will tell. But not in 2020.

COVID-19 has cloaked the globe like no virus has in generations and, yet, conquering the pandemic one carefully calculated step at a time have been front-line health care workers.

Sacrificing sleep and their own personal health, these workers have tirelessly and relentlessly battled this virus for nearly a year. Some have had their own personal encounters with it and have pressed on.

Groups aren’t uncommon choices in Time’s history. In 1960, U.S. scientists were dubbed People of the Year. In 1969, the Middle Americans. In 1975, American women. In 1993, The Peacemakers. In 2003, American soldiers. In 2011, protesters. In 2014, Ebola fighters. In 2018, The Guardians.

Time has swung and missed before. It will again. It wasn’t even in the right ball park in 2020.



Dec. 14

The State-Journal on Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine and practicing coronavirus safety measures during the holidays:

Following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine late last week, the first shipment of the freezer-packed vials arrived in Louisville on Sunday and state health care workers and nursing home residents were among the first to receive it on Monday.

Officials have solved the logistics for quick transport of the two-dose vaccine, which must be stored at 94 degrees below zero, but the biggest hurdles will be tackling Americans’ skepticism about the shots and continuing to promote safe practices such as wearing face masks and social distancing throughout the coming year.

Considered the world’s strictest medical regulator, the FDA stated that Pfizer’s vaccine appears safe. However, the shots can cause temporary fever, fatigue and aches — meaning hospitals will need to stagger employee vaccinations. And wary Americans will be watching to see whether health care workers take the shots.

A recent Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Health Research poll revealed that U.S. residents not convinced. Only about half want to be vaccinated. The remaining 50% are evenly divided between those who won’t take the vaccine and those who are unsure.

Health and elected leaders officials are also concerned that COVID fatigue and indoor holiday gatherings could lead to “spreader” events — causing a significant increase in coronavirus cases and deaths.

This global pandemic is a marathon, not a sprint, and we are nowhere near the homestretch. Even if Moderna Inc.’s coronavirus vaccine receives FDA approval as expected later this week, it will still be midspring until either of the shots are available for the average person.

“There are still months to go in this battle with the pandemic, but in this historic week to which we are all witness, we can celebrate having turned a corner to a brighter, better Kentucky,” Gov. Andy Beshear said.

In other words, this holiday season is not the time for us to let our guard — or our face masks — down. The best gift we can give the frontline health care workers we have depended on during the past nine months of the pandemic is to continue practicing 6 feet of social distancing, proper hand washing, limiting our contacts and wearing face masks. After all they have done for us, this is the least we can do for them.



Dec. 13

The News-Enterprise on Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron asking the Supreme Court to strike down Gov. Andy Beshear’s executive order that suspends in-person instruction at public and private schools:

As cases of COVID-19 continue to rise at record levels across Kentucky, a legal challenge of Gov. Andy Beshear’s executive order temporarily suspending in-person instruction at K-12 schools also persists. At issue is whether the governor’s order violates the constitutional rights of private religious schools.

Kentucky Attorney Daniel Cameron says it does. He has requested the U.S. Supreme Court take up the case to overturn a federal court’s prior decision allowing the restriction of in-person instruction at private, faith-based schools.

In late November, Cameron joined in a federal lawsuit filed by Boyle County’s Danville Christian Academy arguing Beshear’s executive order violates the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of religion as well as Kentucky’s Religious Freedom and Restoration Act.

Some 17 other Christian schools along with more than 1,000 parents filed amicus briefs in support of that lawsuit saying they and their children’s rights have been violated by the order.

U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove agreed and halted the order’s inclusion of religious schools on the basis it discriminated against them and their students. This was a short-lived win, however, as a three-judge panel with the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the lower court’s preliminary injunction days later. The Kentucky Supreme Court also unanimously ruled the governor’s collective executive actions taken in effort to slow the spread of the virus are legal.

Beshear’s legal team responded to Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh, arguing the executive order restricting K-12 in-person instruction until early January is constitutional and a necessary public health safety measure in light of the surging cases of coronavirus in the state.

While the American Medical Association and Louisville’s public health department submitted briefs to the high court supporting the governor’s order, there has been no absence of support of the AG’s argument. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Sen. Rand Paul and 38 other Republican senators filed briefs doing so.

It hasn’t been determined if SCOTUS will hear the case. But its late November ruling striking down COVID-19 safety measures enacted by NewYork Gov. Andrew Cuomo that would have restricted large gatherings at churches gives insight on how it might also view Beshear’s orders similarly impacting religious liberties.

There is no evidence to suggest Beshear purposefully set out to discriminate against private religious schools with his order. With every county but one having average daily cases in the red zone, the highest category of infection spread, it’s clear the virus is spreading across Kentucky in uncontrolled manner. During his daily pandemic briefing last Thursday, Beshear noted that 10,000 students across the state have been quarantined or isolated as a result of the virus. He defends his actions as necessary but understandably unpopular safety measures to save lives.

Studies show, and students and their parents will attest that learning is best achieved with in-person instruction. Restricting or circumventing this setting, even during public health emergencies, impacts children in significant and perhaps lasting ways.

When instruction restrictions involve legally protected religious study, worship and prayer, the impact can be even more personally significant. Should it hear the case, there’s a good chance the U.S. Supreme Court will determine the action to be unconstitutional.